The Mac Mini has often been seen as the ugly duckling in Apple’s Mac family. Without the sleek sophistication of the iMac or the portable beauty of the MacBook, it is often overlooked, consigned to the “niche” category and seen as only fit for developers and data centers.
But now that it has been outfitted with Apple’s M1 chip, ignoring it is the last thing you want to do. Although it may look like the previous-generation Mac Mini from the outside, on the inside it is nothing less than a revolution.
Far from an afterthought, the Mac Mini is now a serious contender for your cash — provided you want a desktop machine and already have all the required peripherals. It is still niche, but it is bashing hard against the walls of that descriptor, ready to burst out.
The Mac Mini is by far Apple’s most compact desktop Mac. Measuring 7.7 inches wide and 1.4 inches tall from top to bottom, this is a device that can easily fit on your desk or slide under a monitor. It is identical in footprint to the previous Intel-based Mac Mini.
It is also one of Apple’s most minimalist devices. Almost the entire surface of the device is covered in matte aluminum, with just a large Apple logo on top to break up the uniformity. There is no other branding and no other labeling, just a tiny white light on the front that lights up when you power the device on. It is a Jony Ive fever dream, perhaps the ultimate expression of Apple’s obsessive design mores.
As we have come to expect with Apple hardware, the build quality is excellent. The entire device is weighty and solid, with no flexing or bending to be found anywhere. It feels like a device that could take a few knocks and still come up smiling — not that you would want that to happen.
There are a few differences between the M1 and Intel models, though. The most obvious is the paint job, with the M1 model coming in silver and the Intel version in the darker space gray. The Intel Mac Mini is also slightly heavier, weighing in at 2.9 pounds, compared to the M1 Mac Mini’s 2.6 pounds…Read more>>